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Transfer of technology law


The exploitation of intellectual property rights is rarely confined to a single jurisdiction, but rather it crosses national borders. This interjurisdictional exploitation occurs most commonly with the innovation rights, that is: patents and trade secrets. However, issues arise in relation to other intellectual property rights as well. Thus, questions about the ownership of the key rights, the licensing of these rights and competition law must be answered. In Transfer of technology law you will study how and why the rules governing technology transfer work. The course examines the issues largely from the perspective of United Kingdom and European Union law.

Module A: Intellectual property and technology transfer


  • Background to technology transfer
  • Patents
  • Breach of confidence
  • Copyright
  • Designs

Module B: Licensing of intellectual property


  • The interests in intellectual property
  • Ownership
  • General contractual principles
  • Assignment
  • Licences
  • Licence terms
  • Royalties

Module C: Competition law and technology transfer


  • Introduction to competition law
  • Market definition and exempt agreement
  • Technology Transfer Block Exemption
  • Research and development and specialisation block exemptions
  • Licence agreements outside a block exemption
  • Abuse of dominant position
  • Patent pooling

Module D: Border issues in technology transfer


  • Sequence: module A must be attempted before module D
  • Exhaustion
  • Border controls
  • Export control
  • Taxation
  • Compulsory licences


Each module will be assessed by a 45-minute unseen written examination.


It is strongly recommended you attempt Module A first.

How to apply

You can either apply for these modules individually or as part of the Postgraduate Laws programme. (In either scenario, they must be studied in order.)

These modules also contribute towards the following specialist pathways for Laws:

  • Commercial and Corporate Law
  • Common Law
  • Economic Regulation
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • International Business Law
  • International Intellectual Property Law
  • Law and Development

Apply via Postgraduate Laws.

Academic Co-ordinator

Professor Phillip Johnson

Professor Phillip Johnson

Phillip Johnson is the Professor of Commercial Law at Cardiff Law School. His main area of interest is intellectual property law, but he additionally has interests in sports and entertainment law, private international law and UK and EU public law.

He is a practising barrister at the Intellectual Property Bar, and a member of the Irish Bar, the Californian Bar and the Washington DC Bar. He is a Member of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, the American Bar Association as well as the Intellectual Property Bar Association. As an Appointed Person (tribunal judge), he hears appeals from the Intellectual Property Office on trade marks and design disputes.

He has consulted to the UK Intellectual Property Office, the World Intellectual Property Organisation, foreign governments, as well as industry, and he has given expert evidence in foreign proceedings.

As a practising barrister, he has advised well-known fashion brands, pharmaceutical and agriculture companies, broadcasters and publishers as well as national newspapers and celebrity magazines.